Quit Smoking!

Quitting smoking can be hard. But the health risks of smoking make it well worth doing. Read on to learn more about the benefits of quitting … and some strategies to help you succeed.

Why it's hard to quit smoking

It’s hard to quit smoking for a couple of reasons. First, cigarettes and other forms of tobacco contain a powerful, addictive drug – nicotine. Nicotine affects your brain and your body. It can:
  • Rev you up. Like coffee, it’s a stimulant that makes you feel more alert.
  • Make you feel calmer and more focused.
  • Make you feel happier. It can act as an anti-depressant. Doctors have discovered that some smokers are depressed, and smoking is their way of taking a drug for their depression.
  • Get you addicted. It doesn’t take long for your body and brain to get addicted to nicotine.
  • Make you feel sick and uncomfortable when you haven’t had it for a while.
Smokers’ bodies and brains get used to nicotine. Once you’re addicted, having nicotine in your body feels “normal”, and going without nicotine feels bad. If you don’t get your nicotine fix, you start feeling withdrawal symptoms. You have the urge to smoke again. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, but they don't last forever. There are ways to cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. You can also talk with your doctor about quit smoking medications. These can reduce your withdrawal symptoms and make it easier to quit.
Another reason it's hard to quit is that smoking is part of your routine. You develop smoking rituals that become a part of every day. You may look forward to these smoke breaks, because they give you a chance to take time out and relax. Maybe you smoke in the car, as you read the paper, or when you're out with friends. The routine of smoking is another reason why it's hard to quit.
To quit smoking, you have to build new routines. If you normally smoke when you want to take a break from work or the kids, find an alternative way to take a break. Go for a walk, take a warm bath, or put on a music player and "zone out" for 5 minutes. Remind yourself that your new routines may feel weird at first, but in the long run they will help you be the healthy, smoke-free person you want to be.

Benefits of quitting smoking

Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life. Non-smokers have a much lower risk of getting dozens of smoking-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
Here are some other good things that happen to your body once you stop smoking:
Within 8 hours
  • carbon monoxide level drops in your body
  • oxygen level in your blood increases to normal
Within 48 hours
  • your chances of having a heart attack start to go down
  • your sense of smell and taste begin to improve
Within 72 hours
  • your bronchial tubes relax and make breathing easier
  • your lung capacity increases
Within 2 weeks to 3 months
  • your blood circulation improves
  • your lung functioning increases up to 30 percent
Within 6 months
  • your coughing, stuffy nose, tiredness and shortness of breath improve
Within 1 year
  • your risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half
Within 10 years
  • your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half
Within 15 years
  • your risk of dying from a heart attack is the same as a person who never smoked

Other good reasons to quit smoking

  • You'll set a good example for your children.
  • Your smoking will no longer affect the health of people around you.
  • You'll have more money to save or to spend on other things – a pack of cigarettes a day adds up to more than $3000 a year!
  • You'll have more energy to do the things you love.
  • You'll pay lower life insurance premiums.
  • Cigarettes will no longer control your life.
What are your reasons to quit smoking? Write them down and share them with friends and family or post them on the fridge.


How to quit smoking

Most people find it hard to quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Many people like you have quit smoking. You can too. Counselling, medications, and other supports can help you quit.
If you’ve tried quitting smoking before but couldn’t do it, try again. Each time you try, it will get easier. You will be one step closer to quitting for good.


Step 1. Pick a quit day

Choose a date within the next two weeks to quit. Don't wait for the "perfect" day – just pick a date and work with it. Put it in your calendar.
If you'd like:
  • List your reasons for quitting – health, family, money.
  • Write down some new hobbies you can do instead of smoking – exercise, knitting, making model airplanes – something to keep your hands and mind busy.
  • Speak with friends, family, and colleagues and ask for support. Tell them about your plan to quit, so it feels more real to you.
  • Start making the changes to push smoking out of your everyday life. Make your house and car smoke-free, so no one is allowed to smoke inside.
  • Learn about nicotine withdrawal symptoms and how to cope with them.


Step 2. Choose two or more quit-smoking methods

There are many proven ways to quit smoking. To boost your chances of quitting, choose more than one method. Pick what seems right for you. Each person is different. You'll know what will work best for you.
Proven quit smoking methods:
  • Join a support group for people trying to quit. Research shows that people in quit-smoking support groups are more likely to quit for good. Find out about quit smoking support groups in your area.
  • Get individual counseling in person or by phone. You can get counseling in person or over the phone, through a free smoker’s quitline. Both are proven to help people quit. There are free quitlines across Canada – find out about the one in your area. If you prefer to see someone in person, ask your doctor or quitline staff to recommend a counselor. The cost of counseling may be covered by your workplace or extended health plan, if you've got one.
  • Take nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The nicotine patch, gum, lozenge or inhaler replaces some of the nicotine you usually get from cigarettes. This can make nicotine withdrawal easier to manage.
  • Ask your doctor about a prescription medicine that can help.
  • If you slip up, don’t give up. Try again, and again... keep trying until you've quit for good.
  • Ask for support from your family and friends.
  • Going “cold turkey” – quitting spontaneously, on your own – also works well for some people. Some people just decide to quit smoking one day – maybe it’s the day they find out they have a lung disease, or the day their grandchild is born. Maybe there is something else that motivates them. Many people who have quit smoking for good say they quit “cold turkey”. If you think going cold turkey could work for you, try it.


Step 3. On your quit date, butt out completely

  • Don’t smoke, not even a little.
  • Toss out your cigarettes, other tobacco, and ashtrays.
  • Avoid people and situations where you will be tempted to smoke. If you usually smoke in a certain chair, don’t sit in that chair. If you usually smoke at a nightclub, avoid that nightclub for a while. Change your usual routine, so your new routine doesn’t include smoking.
  • Go for a walk instead of a smoke.
  • Be positive. Believe in yourself and your plan.
  • Get help from support groups, counsellors and your local quitline.
  • Celebrate your success and give yourself credit! Tell people how long you’ve been quit. It's a major achievement and you should be proud.
  • Consider exercising more. When you're quitting smoking, exercise can help. Exercise is a healthy alternative to smoking, it can take your mind off your cravings, it can help your mood and energy level, and it can help keep off extra weight. If you are new to exercising, start slowly. A walk around the block is a good start.


Step 4. If you slip up, don’t give up. Try again

Quitting smoking gets easier with practice. Every time you try to quit, you boost your chances of quitting for good. Most people who’ve quit smoking forever had to try 5 or 6 times before they could quit for good. This is normal.
Don't be discouraged if you slip up. You are not a failure. Try to figure out what the barriers were to your quitting. Were the nicotine cravings too strong? Did you go back to smoking when you were stressed? Talk with your counsellor, doctor or pharmacist about your experience. Ask yourself how you can do it differently next time. Then try quitting again. Keep trying.


Medication to help you quit smoking

Some people quit smoking with the help of medicine. Quit smoking medicines can reduce your nicotine withdrawal symptoms, reduce your urge to smoke, and boost your chances of quitting. Many studies have shown that quit smoking medicines can double or triple a person's chances of quitting.
Quit smoking medicines can help you quit, but they aren’t magic. They are meant to be used in combination with behavioural quit smoking methods, like support groups and counselling.
If you’re thinking about quitting, or you’ve tried quitting and would like some help, you may want to talk to your doctor about quit smoking medicines.
Talk with your doctor to find out which quit smoking method(s) and medicine(s) are right for you.


Important information

Content powered by:
Healthy rewards for a healthier you
Participate in personalized wellness
programs for rewards at
Copy content included in this article is © BestLifeRewarded, 2014
Information in this section has been provided by the Lung Association. The Lung Association provides trusted, unbiased, science-based information that allows you to take control of your own health.
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details